Reaching New People, Enabling New Leaders

Revd Michael Broadley and Revd Sami Lindsey have recently been appointed to leadership roles for the Resourcing Churches programme, following on from Revd Barry Hill who oversaw the programme from 2019 until last Autumn. As well as continuing to lead their respective churches (Emmanuel Church, Loughborough and St John the Baptist, Clarendon Park), Michael will now also serve as Resourcing Churches Programme Lead, accountable for the ongoing delivery of the programme, and Sami will be Resourcing Churches Transition Lead, responsible for developing strategies to embed a church-planting culture across the Diocese beyond the programme’s end.

We took the opportunity to speak to Michael and Sami to find out more about the Resourcing Churches Programme to date, which has launched 26 new worshipping communities since it began, and their new roles.

What has it meant for your church being one of those in the Resourcing Churches Programme?

Michael: The heart of the programme is about reaching the 93% of people in our communities who have no contact with church, with church-planting being the main mechanism for that.

About four years ago, we planted St Barnabas, Grange Park in a new estate where there wasn’t yet a church, sending out 22 people, including most of our worship team and youth and children’s leaders. Now we are looking to revitalise another church in Loughborough, where I am priest-in-charge.

For us at Emmanuel Church, the Resourcing Church Programme has enabled us to try things and take risks, and to see God’s faithfulness in that. When we sent out 22 people to plant St Barnabas, it felt like a huge loss; but we trusted that God would provide and more people would come. Then the pandemic hit, and that didn’t look possible. But now, we’ve recovered to the point where we can consider inviting another three or four families to revitalise another church. So, we get to see that when we do give away, when we are generous, and when we do take risks, God honours that.

The whole programme started with taking a look at our own church culture, and ensuring mission is at the heart of it. So, when we planted St Barnabas, we asked people to discern whether they were called to plant or called to stay and build up? Which meant those who stayed at Emmanuel still had a calling to create new disciples, deepen discipleship and lovingly serve our community. As a result, our own congregation has become much more diverse.

Sami: The programme for us has meant working towards strengthening St John’s as a resourcing centre – fostering a missional and discipling ethos, and then seeking to serve and bless and give away as much as we can. So, we’ve had one of our curates go to another church to help revitalise that community, and we are about to send our children’s worker to a new worshipping community in the Knighton Fields area. We are also running Catalyst, which is a learning pathway for lay church planters.


How does church-planting help reach new people?

Michael: With church-planting, there is a process of double-listening: listening to God (what does God want us to do?) and listening to the community (what is culturally appropriate for that context? What will best connect with people there?). There isn’t one style of church plant, and anything we plant from Emmanuel will look very different from us, because it is about creating a church for the local community. So, the team that started St Barnabas were drawn from that community so people knew that they were for them.

But we’re also thinking about reaching people in other ways than church-planting. We now run what is effectively a Christian Union in our local primary school – and somewhere between 15 and 25 children come to that ever Wednesday lunchtime.


What are you most excited about for the Resourcing Churches Programme?

Sami: I’m really proud of the stories coming out of places like St Barnabas – there’s now a community of 80-odd people where previously there was no church. Since the programme began, we’ve launched 26 new worshipping communities, and I definitely think that is worth celebrating as a diocese.

I’m also really excited by the Catalyst programme – there are five planting teams involved, who are able to respond to their sense of call and vocation through the training, and the variety of the initiatives they’re pursuing is really exciting. For instance, three members of St Peter’s Oadby ran the Alpha course in the Black Dog pub next door, and had 30 people coming along. That’s continued and is developing into a little worshipping community, and they’re about to run their second Alpha course in the pub. The people who are part of that would probably never have stepped foot in a church. So, we’re getting to reach new people, enable new leaders, and there’s a sense of the Kingdom growing as a result.


What is next for the programme?

Sami: We’re continuing to finalise plans for nine further church plants, and Michael in particular will be working with the existing church plants to ensure they are sustainable. But my role in particular is more future-orientated, looking at how we can normalise a culture of church-planting within the Resourcing Churches and then how ca we take learning from the programme to help stimulate and catalyse mission in the wider diocese. I’ll also be working with the Training and Development team to develop a more strategic approach to appropriate leadership pathways which, again, embed some of the learning from the programme.

The heart of all this is, through love for the Church at large, to bring renewal and revitalisation to the mission and ministry of local churches. So, with humility and the recognition that we don’t have all the answers, we want to do what we can to bless, serve, revitalise and renew the mission and ministry of our parishes.

First published on: 18th January 2024
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